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July 15, 1992

Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Author Affiliations

University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington

JAMA. 1992;268(3):385-386. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490030097044

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The past year was remarkable for two occurrences in the field of occupational and environmental medicine. The first is the role that preventive medicine, in its occupational and environmental aspects, played in protecting the health of US forces participating in Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East. Because of preventive actions taken in relation to the ambient working environment, and for the important issues of supplying necessary water and controlling infectious diseases, the half million troops participating in Operation Desert Storm experienced a remarkably low incidence of preventable illness traceable to infectious causes or dehydration. The insistence on proper fluid intake, coupled with infection control at the "worksite," led to a low casualty rate among troops. A major source of morbidity and mortality involved traditional workplace problems such as injuries, including motor vehicle accidents. While clearly nontraditional, an outstanding contribution was made to the overall effort by those who had